F38: Fiji Apple, Fuerte Avocado and Frankenfood

This week *F* guided me as I picked up Fuji Apples at the Farmer’s Market. I’d searched for fennel and for figs. Well, it is the wrong season for figs and fennel wasn’t to be found. The farmer from Rainbow Farms told me fennel is year round in this climate, though nobody had any late in the day. So, I return to an old familiar fruit. Apples and oranges were the only fruits in the wintertime when I was growing up. At least the only fruits coming into my childhood home.

For several years after reading about natural hormones I ate apples every day as a part of my hormone enhancement. Apples were thermogenic or heat producing. In other words, this high fiber/high water content fruit was supposed to increase my metabolism through greater energy expenditure for simply eating and digesting. As I said about eating last week, I am not a scientist, but I felt good adding these thermogenic vegetables into my menu. (Highest thermogenic/carbohydrate ratio vegetables are: Asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, lettuce, mushroom, radicchio, radish and spinach.)

I am not sure if that is all gobblety-gook like so much nutrition nonsense, I knew I felt better physically then I had in years. Then last year when I didn’t have the budget for the Farmer’s Market, I stopped eating much of the above list after finding out that apples, celery and spinach are among the worst food on the list of ‘dirty’ foods, or those most exposed to chemicals and toxins. I chose different fruits and vegetables.

The apples I picked up from my Farmer’s Market don’t frighten me, because these local farmers are not spraying them with pesticides and they have the certifications and the heart of farmers of safe food. (I really like this group of people.)

Sunday morning reading on the internet I spotted some in depth discussions of Monsanto crimes at Ethicurean: Chew the Right Thing and about Victory Gardens at Depletion and Abundance. Sharon links to many references including safe seeds.

The Ethicurean post reviews the Nature editorial saying,
We’re taking our ball and going home: Monsanto and Syngenta pulled out of the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology, which aims to do for hunger and poverty what the IPCC has done for climate change. Why? Oh, says this critical Nature editorial, because of "the inability of its members to get industry perspectives reflected in the draft reports. One of these perspectives is the view that biotechnology is key to reducing poverty and hunger." In fact, the report is leaning the opposite way — awesome.

Before I leave behind this subject for now, I would like to focus on the point that people don’t believe these claims of frankenfood.

Eco-Farm: Seeds of ignorance
Investigative journalist reveals serious safety concerns about GM food
Posted by Tom Philpott at 2:05 PM on 25 Jan 2008

Honestly, since GM food entered the food supply so suddenly and broadly -- introduced in 1995, GMOs were appearing in 70 percent of U.S. by 2000 -- I figured it must be just as nutritionally suspect as normal industrial food, but no more. After all, if GM food actually introduced new dangers, wouldn't we know it by now? Wouldn't there be some huge outcropping of disease or something? [snip]

It's in that context that we have to interpret the recent statement by a food-industry flack that "most consumers are not concerned about biotech." That's a lie. Most consumers don't know that their food supply is shot through with biotech.
And that's no accident. Industry has scotched every effort to require labeling for GM food. [snip]

It's a brilliant strategy, really. In a society already beset with chronic ailments and reliant on pharmaceuticals, you can introduce a whole array of dangerous foods, and no one would even notice.
Cloned burgers, anyone? [emphasis mine]

To return to my *F* week of food, let me add this. I discovered on Sunday something called the Fuerte Avocado. I realized I only really recognized the name Haas for avocados, so this is new. This Spanish adverb is a good one regardless of the three characteristics of the Fuerte; 1 ) strongly, tightly, hard 2 ) loudly or 3) abundantly.

Fuerte Avocado
Harvested late fall through spring, the Fuerte is the original high quality California avocado. The two most widely marketed avocado varieties are the rough-skinned, almost black Hass and the smooth, thin-skinned green Fuerte. The Hass has a smaller pit and a more buttery texture than the Fuerte.

  • Pear-shaped
  • Medium seed
  • Peels easily
  • Great taste
  • Medium to large fruit, ranging from 5 to 14 ounces


  • Smooth thin green skin
  • Creamy, pale green flesh

Ripe Characteristics:

  • Skin remains green
  • Fruit yields to gentle pressure when ripe

Although my apples and avocodos are like starting over again with the letter *A* and the tastes of childhood, the Agri-Business giants threaten our most traditional, standard foods. We are practically starting over again with our seizing control of our own food production. This movement is growing. A monoculture of GM food may serve industry, but it threatens to kill off hundreds of species of plants and to poison us. We must fight the fight to keep these basic foods whole and healthy.

Happily I can report that new this month found France rejecting Monsanto. Early in January Jose Bove went on a hunger strike to protest GM food being allowed into France. It appears that this helped.

In recognition of activism in this area I want to acknowledge one of my idols, Indian Activist Vandana Shiva. She is a ferocious fighter against the giant Monsanto. She is also a physicist and ecologist and the Director of the Research Foundation on Science, Technology, and Ecology. She is the founder of Navdanya -"nine seeds", a movement promoting diversity and use of native seeds. Dr. Shiva was the 1993 recipient of the Alternative Nobel Peace Prize -the Right Livelihood Award. And she is the author of many books, her latest is "Earth Democracy: Justice, Sustainability, and Peace."